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SETU researchers are supporting Palliative Care Week by exploring the issues of energy hardship for people with palliative care needs at home.

Hosted by the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC), the event aims to raise awareness of the positive impact that palliative care can have on the lives of people with life-limiting illnesses and their families. 

Palliative Care Week will take place until this Saturday, 16 September, with the theme ‘Living for Today, Planning for Tomorrow’. 


Dr Suzanne Denieffe along with a team of researchers from SETU, including Dr Martina Gooney, Dr Patricia Hunt, Dr Muireann Prendergast, and Dr Pilar Luz Rodrigues, along with researchers from the AIIHPC and Dublin City University (DCU) are conducting an ongoing study on energy hardship among individuals receiving palliative care.  

Titled ‘Energy hardship – understanding issues for people with palliative care needs at home and promoting actions’, the study seeks to explore the extent and impact by gathering the views of patients, carers, palliative home care nurses, and energy providers.  

The study aims to provide recommendations to try and address the problem. It also involves clinical collaborators from University Hospital Waterford (UHW) and Milford Care Centre. 

Cost of living crisis  

With the current increases in cost of living and increased energy costs, people may experience difficulties heating their homes, but certain groups are more susceptible to the harmful effects of living in cold homes.  

Among these are older individuals, those with chronic illnesses, and people with low or declining incomes. Some individuals who are receiving palliative care at home may fall into one or more of these categories. Living in a cold home can lead to severe consequences, including a higher risk of infections, worsening of existing symptoms, negative impact on mental health, and in serious cases, even potentially accelerating death. 

The project is supported with funding from the Irish Cancer Society and officially started in March. It will conclude with the publication of a final report in December. 


As a follow on from Palliative Care Week, the SETU research team will hold a consultative webinar for patients and family caregivers on Tuesday, 26 September in conjunction with the Voices4Care AIIHPC group. During this webinar, interim results from the energy hardship study will be presented. The webinar will be an opportunity to obtain feedback from those attending the event on these results and the broader issue of energy hardship in palliative care at home. Other events will be held for healthcare professionals and for the public.  

More information about the webinar can be found on EventBrite